Lynette Fay: A lockdown dog? No, not right now – I have nothing left to give

Many people who bought dogs during the first lockdown are now regretting their decision. It turns out that a dog might be great company but it takes a lot of work to look after one

Lynette Fay – considering transferring to the realm of pet owners. Picture by Press Eye/Darren Kidd
Lynette Fay

DID you get up to anything exciting at the weekend? Chances are that you went for a walk as that’s as much excitement that’s available to us at the minute.

As we continue to walk our way through lockdown, to keep moving, and keep heads clear, it is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate through streets and parks with pavements full of dog poo. It’s a bugbear of mine. I don’t understand why dog owners don’t pick up after their pets.

I heard a radio report on the subject this week which made me laugh out loud. Louth County Council recently discussed the possibility of performing DNA tests on dog poo, in order to identify the dog owners in the county who are failing to pick up after their pooch. One person suggested that the poo should be returned to the dog owner when it was identified. I kid you not.

Another report this week, stated that many people who bought dogs during the first lockdown are now regretting their decision. It turns out that a dog might be great company but it takes a lot of work to look after a pet.

It was International Love Your Pet day a couple of weeks ago. Ahead of the celebration, I spoke to Dr Margit Muller for my radio show. She is a pet expert and loves pets. I don’t have a pet and I don’t know if I am a pet person. (I am aware that some of you are forming an opinion about me based on such an admission...)

I was nervous about speaking to 'Dr Margit' because I didn’t think that I could do the subject justice, given my inexperience and apprehensive attitude to pets.

When we got talking, Dr Margit described how pets add so much to the lives of their owners and how they love their owners unconditionally. Reciprocally, pets also need emotional love and attention from their owners. While she was describing this relationship, I couldn’t help but think that with a busy household, trying to keep our heads above water, now is definitely not the time to get a pet. I have nothing left to give.

I don’t dislike animals, most of my family are dog owners and we had dogs when I was a small child. I loved my first dog but he was a bit of a rascal and eventually had to go on ‘holidays’, never to return. My second dog was sadly killed by a car. I haven’t let myself attach to a dog since.

I put this to Dr Muller as the reason why I have put the barricades up and not allowed myself to become attached to an animal again. I might have redeemed myself in her eyes and made myself feel a little less heartless.

All that said, the pressure to get a pet is mounting. The youngest member of the family loves dogs. It melts my heart to see her interact with them. The months ahead will indicate whether or not she really has me wrapped around her little finger.

While I consider my transfer to the realm of pet owners, I can’t help thinking about my recent track record with pets. I haven’t covered myself in glory. A few months ago the next door neighbours called to our house asking if we had seen their cat in recent days. The cat had been missing for over 24 hours.

Later that evening, another knock on the door. The neighbour asked if we could open the car boot. Strange request, I thought. We opened the boot – and there was the cat. I was mortified. I knew exactly what had happened. We had been doing a clear-out the day before, the car boot had been loaded up for the recycling centre. The boot had been left ajar, I closed it, not realising that the poor cat had crept inside. I will never live that one down.

I’m not the biggest cat lover in the world and tend to scream if a cat accidentally wanders into the house. I screamed when a magpie was trapped in my bedroom. When my friend’s children introduced me to their pet guinea pig, I couldn’t tell my face to say something pleasant. I winced at the thought of having one in the house.

But, never say never. Eventually, my family might just help me to find my inner pet lover. Eventually.

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